PM Narendra's Modi's U.S tour

Trump-Modi joint statement takes Pakistan to task

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump give out a joint statement after their meeting at White House, in Washington DC, USA on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump give out a joint statement after their meeting at White House, in Washington DC, USA on Tuesday.  

The joint statement goes beyond the usual American position while pulling up Pakistan and echoes Indian concerns regarding the Chinese-led Belt and Road initiative.

A joint statement by United States President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday after their first meeting made terrorism the cornerstone of mutual cooperation between the two countries. The statement went beyond the usual American position - it pulled up Pakistan and echoed India's concerns over China's Belt and Road initiative.

Dealing with North Korea is now a component of India-U.S. cooperation, and the statement obliquely blamed China and Pakistan in this context. “The leaders pledged to work together to counter the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction programs, including by holding accountable all parties that support these programs,” the statement said. Pakistan has helped the DPRK develop its nuclear capability and the Trump administration wants China to increase pressure on its neighbour to mend its behavior.

 

“…given that this was a first meeting, it's a strong start, and signals a lot of continuity on key issues. (And yes, that's good),” Joshua White, former White House official during Barack Obama’s presidency, said on Twitter, offering a series of comments on the various aspects of the statement, which was issued after both leaders spent nearly four hours together. Of this, Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi spent 40 minutes on a one-on-one. They read out individual statements before cameras before a reception and dinner at the White House. During those hours, they hugged at least thrice.

“The leaders called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. They further called on Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan based groups,” said the joint statement. “The leaders stressed that terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought and terrorist safe havens rooted out in every part of the world.”

 

This paragraph is “explicit and clearly suggests that Pak is culpable for allowing a permissive environment for militants,” said Mr. White. “Further, it indicates that the U.S. agrees with the Indian view that there has been a series of "cross-border" attacks from Pak-based groups.”

The statement said, “The leaders also affirmed their support for a U.N. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.”

Mr. White recalled that the “Obama admin was very reluctant to endorse” it.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi pledged to work together to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.

Both countries “plan to undertake a comprehensive review of trade relations with the goal of expediting regulatory processes… and increasing market access in areas such as agriculture, information technology, and manufactured goods and services,” taking into account long pending American concerns about market access in India.

Echoing Indian position on Belt and Road Initiative

The joint statement said the leaders supported “bolstering regional economic connectivity through the transparent development of infrastructure and the use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment,” which echoes India’s position on China's Belt and Road Initiative.

India had abstained from the recent Belt and Road Forum, citing sovereignty concerns as the project passes through parts of Jammu and Kashmir that are under occupation. India had also pointed out that the financing of the project could turn out to be unviable.

The paragraphs appeared in the section that discussed Indian and U.S common interests in Asia Pacific. The statement said the leaders “reiterate the importance of respecting freedom of navigation, overflight, and commerce throughout the region” and called up upon “all nations to resolve territorial and maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law.”

 

The statement noted that America is now offering the Sea Guardian Unmanned Aerial Systems for sale to India, taking forward an initiate of the Obama administration. This “would enhance India’s capabilities and promote shared security interests,” the leaders said. Lauding the upcoming MALABAR naval exercise, “the leaders determined to expand their engagements on shared maritime objectives and to explore new exercises.” Signalling continuity with another Obama era policy, the U.S “expressed strong support for India’s early membership” in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group.

President Trump reaffirmed the U.S. support for India’s permanent membership on a reformed U.N. Security Council also, the statement said.

“Overall I think this is a strong joint statement,” said Mr. White. “I'm sure some things were left on cutting room floor — eg, specific mention of H-1B,......or more explicit statements about market access... or a clearer pathway for US-India defense coop or agreements. ... or clearer language about climate-related energy cooperation... or more on India's role in combatting ISIS,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 3:49:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/trump-modi-joint-statement-takes-pakistan-to-task/article19153662.ece

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